No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts
It’s been a great year for email marketing but what’s on the horizon for the coming year. As we wrap up 2019, it’s time to take a look forward to 2020.
We asked email marketing experts from Campaign Monitor, AWeber, dotdigital, eFocus Marketing, Mailninja, Email On Acid, Holistic Email, & DigitalPi to tell us what email trends, tools and tactics marketers should consider implementing into their 2020 email marketing strategy.
strategy-conscious email senders should keep top-of-mind as we move
Here’s what they had to say…
Develop A Future-Focused Strategy
Like any other tactic, your email marketing will never be successful without a future-focused strategy in place. You could have fantastic copy and brilliant designs, but without an organized plan to get you through the year, you’d only be wasting your time. In 2020, spend less of your time being hyper-focused on copy and design best practices, and more time planning out each and every send to ensure that every message is a part of the comprehensive and cohesive brand strategy.
If you’re new to the email marketing game, creating a strategy and calendar can feel like a daunting task. But with a little brainstorming and organization, building a calendar can be relatively simple. Plus, having a tangible plan in front of you helps bring together the bigger picture, and allows you to fill in blanks that you may not have noticed before.
As we know, best practices are constantly shifting and trends are forever changing. But a solid strategy will always be in vogue. If you give yourself time to properly plan out your email goals and methods to achieve those goals, you’ll find yourself in the perfect spot for 2020.
AMP for Email Is Changing The Game
We are in one of the most exciting and innovative times for email marketing. With revolutionary technology like AMP for Email, the way you communicate with your audience is about to change forever.
Previously, email was a static medium that forced readers to leave the inbox to go to other webpages. With AMP for Email, your message is no longer a stagnant document that gathers dust inside an inbox after it’s read. It’s now a living, ever-changing experience that encourages the reader to stick around. To explore. To come back again and again. To participate.
That means readers can book an appointment, RSVP to an event, sign up for a newsletter, leave a product review, answer a survey or quiz, or view a live package shipping update — all inside an email.
As a marketer, you should explore this new technology. Play around with it. Get your hands dirty. Marketers who incorporate dynamic and interactive elements inside their emails will have an easier time strengthening and furthering relationships with their customers and driving successful results. They’ll have a leg up in 2020 and beyond.
Learn more about how to use AMP for Email within AWeber in this on-demand webinar.
Keeping Your Segments Razor-sharp in 2020
Brands that continue to send a generic message which fails to inspire audiences will land themselves in the junk folder. Or worse, out of business. The bottom line is being savvier with your marketing tech to get email recipients to act.
As marketers begin to segment more using customer data, they’ll experience a notable uplift in engagement and conversion.
Here are three data-driven email tactics to refine your messages in 2020:
- Nudging dormant contacts
- Engaging new customers quickly before they lapse
- Treating loyal customers differently
Don’t keep sending your content and promotions to people who don’t engage with emails. The only way to win them back is to offer them something irresistible or the chance to unsubscribe altogether.
It costs five times more to acquire a new customer that it does to retain an existing one. So, after a new customer places an order, make sure you keep them on side with a cross-/upsell or complementary content.
Taking your champions down a different path means you can add significantly more value to their experience. Don’t send everyday promotions, offer exclusive perks that make loyal customers spend more.
Top 3 Things To Consider: Maximizing Your Data, Personalization & Interactivity
- Maximizing your data
Make sure that you have good data collection practices to grow your email list and that you’re asking for information at the right time in the process; business critical information on sign-up and further details further down the relationship (progressive profiling).
Making sure that you have an array of data including information you’ve asked for, as well as tracked data, purchase history, contextual and cultural data will allow you to have a 360-degree view of your subscriber. With the rise of artificial intelligence, many businesses are also moving towards being able to better analyze and now predict future behavior to provide more targeted content.
Because of a lack of data, strategic direction and resources, we often don’t see as much personalized content being produced as we could (and should). We know that consumers expect more personalized experiences online now; and if they’ve given you the data to do so and permission to use it, you’re letting them down by not doing so. Think about when personalization is appropriate within your strategy to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time.
- Interactive email
The way in which people are interacting online is changing and as email marketers we have to embrace this and move email forward accordingly.
With AMP for email being launched in Gmail and Microsoft environments, as well as a whole host of relatively simple ways to code interactivity such as carousels, buttons that change colour when you hover over them and surveys that can be completed within the email (amongst other options), we are moving more towards creating mini website experiences in our emails.
Look at your strategy and see where it is appropriate that interactive email could help your subscribers to complete your desired action more quickly and easily than ever before, or provide an experience that surprises and delights then to further solidify the relationship.
Email Accessibility in 2020
Making every email accessible for all subscribers is gaining traction as an email marketing best practice, but there’s still work to be done. The sooner a brand can start making accessible emails, the sooner they’ll effectively communicate with every subscriber.
Accessibility is crucial to email marketing since over one billion people worldwide live with a visual impairment. The explosive growth of in-home digital assistants is also prompting more subscribers to listen to their emails, as opposed to scrolling and reading. Marketers should prepare for technologies such as Alexa and Siri to read subject lines and email content to listeners.
With that, you must understand the nuances in how each auditory medium conveys contextual elements, such as emojis. This shift is also going to drastically affect brands that still send image-only emails, since voice assistants are limited to reading an image’s alt text.
As 2020 rolls around, start taking the steps now to bake accessibility into your emails. Or, use a tool that can do it for you. As you finalize your email strategy for next year, be sure to take into account digital assistants that experts estimate around half of Americans already use.
AMP & AI are the Future
Email Thought Leader
AMP and AI aren’t just acronyms, they’re the future foundation of the growing trend in hyper-personalized marketing using the latest and greatest technology.
AMP for Email allows senders to include AMP components inside rich engaging emails, making modern app functionality available within email.
AMP for Email is designed to make emails feel more like an interactive webpage without punting users to a browser or in other words leverage the speed of the accelerated mobile pages framework.
If they can fill out a poll in email, it’s more likely they do; if they can browse hotel listings in their email, it’s more likely they will.
Companies are being built like ROBOAMP just for this sort of thing. Speed matters and instant is the ideal.
Businesses can encourage engagement by offering audiences the ability to explore and penetrate content right inside their inbox.
Less friction, more instant interaction and a huge potential for in-email purchases from 2020 onwards.
AI-based systems facilitate personalization by incorporating machine learning into each customer interaction across multiple touchpoints, enabling marketers to deliver the right content when it is contextually relevant based on the customer’s real-time engagement.
The technology uses past purchases, interests and browsing behaviors to set up automated campaigns that are designed to nurture your leads.
AI and machine learning algorithms can help write emails that are tailored to each individual subscriber based on how that subscriber has behaved in the past.
AI-powered systems make it possible to set up automated or drip campaigns that are driven by customer data and are based on what stage someone is at in the customer journey.
Tactics, Strategy & Business Goals Should All Align
Firstly, ensure your tactics are aligned and supporting your strategy, which supports your business goals.
Secondly, I suggest making 2020 the year to really focus on doing some solid and effective testing. Email Marketing has a few innate features that other channels don’t, such as: having a unique identifier (i.e. the email address); being a powerful push (as opposed to a pull) channel; and being one of the easiest and most cost-effective channels to test.
To really make these tests count, ensure you use a hypothesis and gain learnings from them, which allows you to take these learnings and apply them, not only in your future email campaigns, but across other channels. After all, your email database (which includes your prospects and your customers) is made up of your target market.
Clear Goals, Milestones & an Action Plan to Get There
I mentioned it in a Meetup we ran for Mailchimp back in September, for me, it’s having a clear goal for your email marketing, set incremental milestones, then an action plan to get you there.
Start with the end goal in mind and work backwards, what comes before that to reach the goal, then work back right to today. Make it something you can hit, both realistic and actual.
An example would be; Before the end of Q4 2020, we want to grow our audience to 5,000 subscribers.
If this is realistic and achievable, great. First job done. Next up, work backwards.
We now have 1,000 subscribers
By end of Q1 we need 2,000 subscribers
By end of Q2 we need 3,000 subscribers
Based on past performance, if we utilise Facebook ads to promote a guide, we will grow our list by 125 per week, therefore we need to produce 2 guides per month, giving us around 1,000 fresh subscribers a month.
It’s important your goal is clear and realistic. It sounds simple, and it is, yet many people fail to plan. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Our email planning tool makes it easier to plan your email campaigns, learn more on our website.
Follow the Rules, but Be Creative
In 2020, we see digital marketers facing a new conundrum: everyone wants to try new things and break apart from the norm when it comes to strategic email marketing, but with a slew of new regulations, that ideology is hard to act on. From CASL and GDPR to CCPA, there are potential fines riding on simple mistakes.
So, how do you stand out from the crowd in an effective and positive way without trespassing on dangerous territory? With a smart, thoughtful strategy, and a deep understanding of the upcoming regulations, we believe there’s still a LOT of room to make your mark through email. From ABM and targeted nurture to direct mail tie-in and good ole lead gen, creativity is still at the heart of successful email marketing despite regulation and yellow-tape.
With the right technologies working synergistically and a team poised for the challenge, you’ll be good to go in 2020. Good luck out there!
Want to read more about what you can expect in 2020? Check out emailmonday’s 9th annual review of all email marketing trends and predictions for the coming year.
More No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts Coming Soon
Stay tuned, we’ll be posting more No Bullshit Advice soon. Read our last installment, Holiday Email Marketing, Are You Ready? or catch up on the entire series here: No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts.
And as always, feel free to share your thoughts with us on Twitter.
Keep your list healthy and boost campaign performance by regularly cleaning your email list. We’ll let you know which email addresses are good, bad and risky, before you hit send.
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